Lives and works in Ghent
Marie Cloquet’s wall-mounted landscapes are neither paintings nor photographs but an unclassified overlap of both. They combine photographic elements and processes as qualities of an expanded field of painting, while integrating painterly gestures and materials to disrupt and enhance our prior knowledge of photography.
In Cloquet’s work, watercolour paintings executed on sheets of drawing paper are coated in emulsion, repositioned in a darkroom, and exposed to a photographic negative or a digital image file. They become the ground surface of photographic prints, which are then torn up into patches by the artist. Subsequently, patches of different prints are being collaged on a canvas – painting’s ultimate material support – and then painted over once again.
The collagistic arrangement of Cloquet’s landscapes blurs and obscures the original land formations they stem from. They reconstruct their place of origin as a patched, discontinuous, unsettled topography simultaneously inhabited by and split between various times and places.
By reconstructing the places they were begotten by Cloquet’s landscapes ignore the dividing line distinguishing nature from culture, the organic from the built. They tell us that all is artificial, manmade, imposed. And as her landscapes alter the sites they originate in, they also disclose the violent alterations these sites had suffered from throughout history, as well as point to the attempts to obscure and naturalize them.
Marie Cloquet does not speak in symbols, but rather in images. Nevertheless, her visual motifs are imbued with an emotional charge, an indirect reaction to the impressions that reach her as an artist and a human being in the 21st century. A torn and grubby curtain, a makeshift, patched together, living hut: they depict a broken homeport, a destroyed shelter - something man has a dire need for in times of chaos. At the same time, Cloquet refers to motifs and genres from art history: the draperies in classical painting, for example, or the abstract forms of Constructivism. Broadly referencing photography, painting, (non-)architecture and sculpture, Cloquet's works seem to transcend boundaries and, in their own way, make a bid for the notion of 'total work of art '. They are inclusive in the way they manage - if only for a moment - to elude extremes such as here and there, then and now, and I and the other.